India, China should be sensitive to each other’s concerns: Vijay Keshav Gokhale

The bilateral meeting between India and China comes ahead of the second Belt and Road Forum (BRF), scheduled to be held in Beijing later this week. It also follows India’s efforts to list JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UNSC, over which China placed a technical hold on the proposal.

China, on Monday, said that common interests “far outweigh” the differences between China and India, and that the two sides should stand in solidarity, and sustain the “positive momentum of sound and steady bilateral relationship.”

At a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale, India said that the two countries should be sensitive to each other’s concerns.

The bilateral meeting between India and China comes ahead of the second Belt and Road Forum (BRF), scheduled to be held in Beijing later this week. It also follows India’s efforts to list JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UNSC, over which China placed a technical hold on the proposal.

Gokhale referring to the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held last year in Wuhan, said, “As you said, we will work together with the Chinese side to deepen understanding to strengthen trust to implement the decisions that were taken by leaders and to do it in a manner in which we are sensitive to each other’s concerns.”

India, however, will not participate in the BRF scheduled later this week because of concerns over territorial integrity in relation to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). According to state news agency Xinhua, following Monday’s meeting Wang said, “As two major neighbours, emerging economies, representatives, and strategic cooperative partners, China and India should continue to strengthen strategic communication, enhance political mutual trust, and maintain close coordination on international and regional affairs.”

Gokhale is reported to have said that India is willing to maintain high-level exchanges with China, enhance mutual understanding, accommodate each other’s concerns and promote greater development of India-China relations. “My colleague (Chinese Vice Minister) Kong Xuanyou and I are following on efforts to see that to implement many of the understandings reached at that (Wuhan) meeting,” Gokhale said.

“Last year we had brisk political exchanges. Your Excellency had visited New Delhi for the first meeting of people-to-people exchange mechanism which is very important. Our External Affairs Minister is looking forward to coming to China this year,” he added in his opening remarks.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ regular press briefing here, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said, “Based on my information, the Chinese side expressed that India and China, as two important neighbours, and representatives of emerging markets and being strategic partners, should enhance strategic coordination and mutual political trust, and maintain close coordination on international issues. Both sides have far more common interests than issues. We should promote unity and coordination.”

Geng also said that since the Wuhan Summit, the two sides have “enjoyed good momentum in bilateral relations.”

“The Indian Foreign Secretary also said that after the Summit, the two sides have had active political interactions and fruitful practical cooperation. The first round of people-to-people cultural exchange was successfully held. The two sides should accommodate each other’s concerns and advance bilateral relations,” he said.

Specific to a question on whether Azhar’s listing or India’s participation in the BRF was discussed, Geng said, “As to the specific issues, I already said that the two sides have far more common interests than conflicts. I hope the two sides will step up coordination and cooperation, and sustain the sound momentum in bilateral relations. China is ready and would like to work together with India to this end.”

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